Tall and sleek towers might stretch several hundred feet in the air as you explore a wide-open region. These structures have rotating blades at the top that look just like desktop fans. You’re looking at the future of sustainable energy in the form of wind turbines. These structures have a simple design, but they create energy with some complexity involved. Learn how these wind farms produce electricity so that you can take advantage of this clean resource.
Putting Together the Components
Before you can understand how wind turbines work, understanding the parts is crucial. One structure has these components, such as:
- Drive train
- Two or three blades
The tower supports the drive train that rests at the meeting point of the blades. A standard, drive train includes a generator and gearbox to harness the energy. The blades are the most conspicuous parts of the structure. They’re in charge of catching the wind and rotating as a result of the weather.
Understanding Blade Design
If you frequently travel, you might see different blade designs around the world. Each blade shape is carefully crafted so that it matches the industries being served. The majority of wind farms tend to have HAWT or horizontal axis wind turbines serving the region’s energy needs.
These turbines might have either two or three blades attached to a given structure. Because of weight and cost, two blades are often used to generate an efficient level of energy. However, aesthetic reasons often prompt designers to use three blades so that the structure is visually and physically balanced as they rotate.
Differing Blade Sizes
Blade sizes differ between various wind farms. You might see blades as long as a football field or smaller than 30 feet in length. The length equates to the power-production amount. A longer blade simply produces more power in a given day.
Most structures have a moderately sized blade configuration. They may produce less energy than larger models, but they compensate for this scenario by adding a group of structures in one area. The collective energy produced by the wind farm is enough to drive a utility grid, which can include hundreds of homes.
Creating Wind Energy
Wind turbines work by taking advantage of the physics involved with rotational shafts. The blades attach to a shaft within the tower. This shaft only rotates when the blades move.
Take a look at the physics behind the blades, including:
- Air passes across the blades’ surfaces
- Areas of high and low pressure result from the air movement
- The pressure differences effectively rotate the blades
The shaft connected to the blades receives all of this wind energy. By making the shaft rotate, there is now mechanical energy involved in the process.
Connecting the Generator
This shaft connects into a generator. Within the generator is a rotor that turns with the shaft. Surrounding the rotor are copper-wire loops.
Opposite charges on the rotor compared to the wire loops creates electromagnetic energy. In turn, usable electricity is now available.
As long as the shaft continues to rotate, electricity can flow unimpeded. Without the wind, however, the electricity does stop.
Transforming the Energy
Electricity creation doesn’t stop with just generator activity. It must still be transported to an utility grid or home, depending on the arrangement. Most wind farms use transformers attached to each structure to alter the power output.
Transformers perform these functions, such as:
- Stepping up or increasing the input voltage
- Encouraging the electricity to run long distances
The transformers usually keep the electricity in AC or alternating-current forms. It travels far so that it can be stepped down as necessary at local grids.
Adding in Battery Resources
Wind doesn’t always blow, which makes the towers an intermittent source of electricity. To combat this problem, some companies add in batteries. The generated electricity flows into a battery where it can be temporarily stored.
If the wind stops at some point, electrical flow continues with power derived from the battery. It charges back up when the turbine rotates once again.
For any of your wind-related questions, speak to the experts at Kurz Industries. Wind energy is our dedicated niche. With more turbines being installed each day, the world will have ample energy without a major impact on the environment.